Last weekend, we met our friends, Boris and Natasha, in Madrid. We did a walking tour from Rick Steves‘ book.
|Boris and Natasha (names were changed to protect the not so innocent)|
We started at Puerta del Sol. The building below was Franco’s headquarters and people tried to escape from questioning by jumping. Others claimed to have been thrown from the windows.
The square is also the place where Napoleon’s troops shot Spanish protestors that was commemorated in Goya‘s painting, The Third of May.
These days, it is a hugely popular public area where the biggest dangers were the huge lines to buy lottery tickets for the big drawing (the king won once) and the hordes of fashionistas at Topshop.
The guard’s hats are flat in the back so they can lean their head against the wall while smoking. He says they wouldn’t catch anyone in a footchase.
Reading that page in the guidebook was so exhausting that we had to stop for sustenance…at a confiteria.
|Sorry, they were so good that I we dug in before taking a picture.|
We walked to Plaza Mayor, a huge public space that was used for bullfighting, royal showboating, the Inquisition and its subsequent “bonfires”. We saw it filled with a Christmas market.
We needed a cafe con leche, so we popped into a cafe. They came with churros, so of course we had to eat them. Properly fortified, we were ready to hit the market (Mercado de San Miguel).
Stuffed as we were, walking through was enough to make us hungry. The food was so beautiful that I couldn’t stop taking pictures.
We went to a convent and bought some cookies (we didn’t intend for it to be a food tour even though it clearly turned into one).
In 1906 there was a royal wedding procession past this spot. Someone threw a bomb along with the flowers. It killed 23. The statute below memorizes the dead.
|The Royal Palace|
Madrid is a really beautiful city. We whiled away the afternoon strolling public squares, grand promenades and wonderful Retiro Park.
Un poquito Espagnol will get you a long way in Madrid. I was delighted to realize I learned some by osmosis in the US.